Ugandan Driver Arrested Over Trafficking 24 Burundians

Net pic of handcuffed suspect

The vigilant traffic officers have led to the arrest of a Ugandan taxi driver and his turnboy over trafficking 24 Burundian nationals. Traffic officers became suspicious of an overloaded taxi UBM 711K at Kayabwe and decided to order it to park aside.

This was at Kayabwe town council, Mpigi district four days ago. Upon checking the taxi, they noticed it was carrying an excess of 10 passengers. In Uganda taxis are authorized to carry 14 passengers plus a driver and a turnboy commonly known as a conductor thus making 16 occupants. But this taxi had 26 occupants in total meaning it had an extra 10 passengers.

Assistant Commissioner of Police -ACP Clare Nabakka, said when police officers interviewed the occupants, they established that 24 were Burundians including one female. Police say the trafficked persons were picked from different villages and provinces in Burundi for casual work in Uganda.

“Each of these people paid 300,000 Mafaranga to Iteka service and Platinum bus which they boarded at different intervals from Burundi via Tanzania and the payment was specifically from Ngoli to Kampala. Due to fear of being arrested by security at the Mutukula border, they boarded the bus about three kilometers to the border,” ACP Nabakka said.

Further investigations indicate that the bus operators connected them to a male Burundian known to them by appearance who led them through a porous border point through a plantation which is near the Mutukula border.

ACP Nabakka said the same male Burundian connected them to the operators of a Ugandan taxi Reg No. UBM 711K to drive them up to Wakiso and Kampala. Police have identified the Ugandan taxi operators as Yasin Katamba and Haruna Ssali.

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Katamba and Ssali are residents of Pungwe village, Mukungwe sub-county in Masaka city, and Kabawo zone, Mutukula Town Council in Kyotera district respectively. The duo operates from the Mutukula-Kyotera district to Kampala.

“The Burundians are currently held at Mpigi CPS to help in investigations while the taxi operators will be charged with trafficking in Persons under sections 3(a) and 4 of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act,” ACP Nabakka said.

Police have always reported that Burundians, Rwandans, and Ethiopians are brought into the country as casual workers. Some come as visitors on visitor visas, others cross through Uganda to other destinations. Those who stay in Uganda are employed as bar attendants, waitresses, dancers for Karaoke, and sex workers.

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